4 Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist

Is that Cupid’s bow or the crosshairs of a narcissist?

Posted Nov 14, 2018

Narcissists have a sixth sense about winning the heart of a partner, but they lack the ability to maintain a normal relationship over the long term. If you’re beginning to suspect that a seemingly amazing partner isn’t as amazing as you’d first thought, trust your instincts and take a more objective view of the person and the relationship. Check in with your most trusted friends who you know have your best interests at heart.

Narcissists can be extremely attractive and endearing in the earliest stages of a relationship. They are masters of love-bombing, where they make a potential partner feel as special as they possibly can. A narcissist’s goal is to find a partner who loves him as much as he loves himself. He may be willing to go to great lengths to please a potential partner as the relationship begins, but only to the extent that his efforts will make him look good to her. A narcissist’s motives are not altruistic – narcissists treat other people well in an effort to get them to think highly of the narcissist. A narcissist will never adore anyone as much as he adores himself. Narcissists are adept at winning affection from their targets early on, but they have trouble maintaining relationships long term if their partners begin to suspect that they care more about their own self-interest than they do their partners or their relationships.

Are you being challenged or forced to change?

Narcissists want partners who accentuate their own strong points and perceived status, not steal any of the limelight from them. People who truly care about what’s best for you will check in with you to find out what you feel is best for yourself. They challenge you to be a better person in the ways that you have defined as “better” for you. Narcissists tend to hold a specific image of what they want a partner to be like. They don’t challenge you to grow, they try to force your “growth.” What they are really trying to do is bend you to their will, control your behaviors, and determine your choices. Here are four warning signs that indicate you are dealing with a narcissist.

Warning Sign #1: Do the gifts you’re given always have strings attached?

One sure sign that you’ve been fooled by a narcissist is when you begin to notice that he consistently puts his needs above your own. If he spends more time talking about or focusing on the two of you as a “couple” than about you as a person, that may be a hint of narcissistic tendencies. Narcissists see people as objects and often leave their romantic partners feeling more like “accessories” than living, breathing, feeling partners. Does your partner give you gifts to make you feel good or to buy your affection? That’s often an easy question to answer, but one that many of us prefer not to think about when we were being seduced by a narcissist’s “strings attached” generosity.

Warning Sign #2: You feel guilty because you kinda’ do like who you are.

Most of us know that we could probably stand to improve ourselves in a variety of ways. We accept, though, that we aren’t perfect and we don’t expect others to be perfect, either. Narcissists, however, believe that they know exactly what is best for themselves and others. So, when someone tries to convince you that they know better than you do about what would make you happy or help you become a “better you,” take that as a warning sign that the purpose of the change is to please your partner, not support you.

Warning Sign #3: You feel like an accessory, not a partner.

Another warning sign is when a partner is more concerned about what others will think about the two of you as a couple, than who you are as a person. Narcissists want to be perceived in the best light and when they “accessorize” their lives with a partner, they want their partners to reflect what their own image of what they feel “perfect” to be.

Warning Sign #4: Small disagreements explode into major battles.

Narcissists actually do believe that they know what is best for themselves and for those with whom they are in relationships. Disagreements and arguments are often highly lopsided – their partners plead with them to see things from another perspective, but narcissists are unable to accomplish a feat that requires this level of emotional maturity. In the early stages of a relationship, they may be willing to mollify or humor their partners, but that doesn’t last for long. Narcissists have a difficult time when their perspectives are challenged because being wrong is an assault on their sense of self and their identities.

Arguing with a narcissist isn’t really worth the energy it takes as they are pretty much incapable of ever seeing any side of an issue but their own. They will always demand the last word and will not back down, even if evidence shows they are in the wrong. Small disagreements can morph into ultimatums and “break-up level” stakes very rapidly. If you cannot agree or support a narcissist’s perspective, then the narcissist will no longer have any need for you in his life.

Remember: When a romantic partner makes you feel like an accessory rather than an equal partner, something is amiss.